Advisory committee urges Elia to press lawmakers for class-size changes
A committee of parents, community leaders and school district staffers aimed to give Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia some ammunition as she presses for changes to the class-size amendment in Tallahassee.
The group, which has been meeting for more than a year, recommended Thursday that the move to classroom counts be postponed as long as possible, and that lawmakers ask voters to reconsider the scope of the 2002 amendment. The committee also called for a reduction in the penalties assessed against districts that fail to comply with the rules -- at least as long as the economy makes it near impossible for the state to pay for full compliance.
Perhaps most important, committee members said, is the need for the Legislature to clarify such things as when exactly the law will take effect and how it will be implemented. They wanted to know, for instance, when and how often the state would count students.
Co-chairman Bill Person said the committee needed to make its suggestions now, so the superintendent with broad community backing can have "a prime opportunity to influence the legislation." Other more local efforts to deal with the amendment, such as redrawing school attendance zones across the county, will wait, he said.